Photo of Robin GargJust one of 23 students selected from across the world, Robin Garg, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering at Oregon State University, was recently selected to receive a prestigious 2020-21 Predoctoral Achievement Award from the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society. This award is based on academic record, promise, and quality of publications.

Garg’s work in the High-Speed Integrated Circuits Lab at Oregon State focuses on building advanced integrated circuits for millimeter-wave wireless communication links. His research on scalable and reconfigurable multiple-input multiple-output arrays speeds up wireless communications by enabling multiple streams of data between users. As more 5G networks are deployed and devices that take advantage of this technology become ubiquitous, this research provides solutions to handle the resulting massive surge in demand for data.

Garg received his B.Tech. degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and then worked in industry before returning to school to work on cutting-edge research. “I am passionate about solving the challenging problems that make an impact,” Garg explained. “Recently, we designed a new millimeter-wave full-duplex IC that will allow more users to access 5G networks, as well as reduce the cost of deploying the technology.”

Garg’s advisor, Arun Natarajan, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, finds Garg’s work impressive. “Robin has developed innovative techniques that make it easier to increase wireless link data rates that coexist with other radios operating at the same frequency while lowering power consumption,” Natarajan said.

The Solid-State Circuits Society is not the only one noticing Garg’s work. In 2020, he was recognized with the Outstanding Student Designer Award from Analog Devices. He also brought home the student paper award (2nd place) at the IEEE Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium in 2020. “It is encouraging to see the wider community recognize Robin’s research, and I look forward to his future contributions in this area,” Natarajan said.

James Matthew Ewing grew up in Lebanon, Oregon, and is a sophomore in electrical engineering. His experiences with research and the OSU Robotics Club have fueled his interest in robotics. He plans to pursue a career in low-power electronics after graduation.

James Ewing is soldering a PCB for a robotic grasping testing device in his garage lab.

As a student from a small high school going into college, finding the path to success seemed like a daunting task. But it is possible! The first step I took was to find what makes me happy, through extracurricular involvement with robotics and undergraduate research.

Through my involvement in the OSU Robotics Club, I found that I have a blast solving engineering problems as part of a team. My journey started when I joined the Mars Rover subteam and took on a project to design printed circuit boards that no one else wanted to. At first, I had no idea how to design a PCB. But after attending OSURC’s technical workshop, I was able to complete the project. The technical skills I learned allowed me to do more than a first-year student who had built their knowledge solely from the course curriculum. 

In the fall of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, I became the president of the robotics club.  This role has allowed me to grow as a leader in an ever-changing environment. The love that OSURC’s members show for robotics is intoxicating. This experience has driven me to become the best leader I can, so I can pass on the love of robotics to others. As president of the club, I have built connections with faculty, industry experts, and other students that will last beyond my tenure as president. I am grateful for the amazing learning experience.

Another large part of finding happiness has come from balancing finances and education. The first step I took was through the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and the Arts program. As a first-year student, I took the initiative to apply for the program and was accepted by Professor Cindy Grimm. My project was to create a sensorized, “smart” apple that allowed robotic hand grasping algorithms to collect data on how to pick an apple. After finishing my research project, Professor Grimm hired me as an undergraduate research assistant with flexible hours. As a result, I’m financially stable and still have enough time to get hands on experience and learn the course material. 

Finally, I have been very fortunate to have an amazing group of friends who have had my back throughout my college years. This started with a small group of friends from high school that expanded as I met more amazing people in my electrical engineering classes. I can’t emphasize enough how important having a support group has been for me. Without having my friends there to bounce ideas off of and to remind me about assignments that are due, I don’t believe I would have made it as far as I have.   

What I’ve learned is that success doesn’t happen to people because they are smarter or better. I am definitely not the most intelligent person, but I make up for that by putting in effort into activities outside of my courses. Take my story as evidence that finding balance and building connections will lead to happiness and success in college and beyond.   

James Matthew Ewing

Kai Zeng, a computer science graduate student in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, brought home first place in the Lucid Programming Competition. Zeng competed among 260 participants from across the western United States in the hackathon. The outer space-themed challenge required contestants to solve 12 mathematic and algorithm problems such as Six Degrees of Neil Armstrong and Antimatter Annihilation.

Although he hadn’t done any algorithmic problem solving for a while, Zeng decided to enter the contest just to brush up on those skills. “I think algorithm skills should be exercised regularly,” he said. “I plan to participate in more programming competitions in the future to continue to improve my thinking and coding abilities.”

Zeng is a master’s degree student with a research focus on distributed systems and machine learning, advised by Associate Professor Lizhong Chen.

“Zeng’s excellent programming skills have helped his research significantly,” said Chen.

The 2018 Graduate Research Showcase took place on Feb. 8 at the LaSells Stewart Center on Oregon State University’s campus in Corvallis. Nearly 150 students presented their research to more than 500 attendees, including industry, students, faculty, and the greater OSU community.

First, second, and third place awards were were granted to the top presenters in each school based on intellectual merit, potential impact, and oral and visual communication skills. The award winners were also invited to attend the 2018 Oregon Stater Awards to present their research.

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by Dr. Cynthia Leonard, Benton Day Camp Director

Eight engineering graduate students volunteered time this summer to work with 160 Girl Scouts ranging from grades 1-12 at Benton Day Camp.

The students did an incredible job conducting a water siphoning activity, and were engaging, funny, patient, and very prepared, adapting the concepts and teaching strategies to the appropriate age level. They blended theory with hands-on activity, and took an excellent problem-solving approach with the girls.

Thank you to Aaron Fillo (student lead), Valerie Byxbe, Anthony Harteloo, Matthew Hoeper, Tara Larson, Taylor Rawlings, Tassilo Selover-Stephan, and Kyle Zada for impacting these girls and their families, and investing in the next generation. The presence of these engineering students at our camp gets the girls excited and interested in engineering and related areas.